Limestone is very common in architecture, especially in Europe and North America. Many landmarks across the world, including the Great Pyramid and its associated complex in Giza, Egypt, are made of limestone. So many buildings in Kingston, Ontario, Canada were constructed from it that it is nicknamed the 'Limestone City'. On the island of Malta, a variety of limestone called Globigerina limestone was, for a long time, the only building material available, and is still very frequently used on all types of buildings and sculptures. Limestone is readily available and relatively easy to cut into blocks or more elaborate carving. It is also long-lasting and stands up well to exposure. However, it is a very heavy material, making it impractical for tall buildings, and relatively expensive as a building material.
Limestone was most popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Train stations, banks and other structures from that era are normally made of limestone. It is used as a facade on some skyscrapers, but only in thin plates for covering, rather than solid blocks. In the United States, Indiana, most notably the Bloomington area, has long been a source of high quality quarried limestone, called Indiana limestone. Many famous buildings in London are built from Portland limestone.
Limestone was also a very popular building block in the Middle Ages in the areas where it occurred, since it is hard, durable, and commonly occurs in easily accessible surface exposures. Many medieval churches and castles in Europe are made of limestone. Beer stone was a popular kind of limestone for medieval buildings in southern England.
Limestone and (to a lesser extent) marble are reactive to acid solutions, making acid rain a significant problem to the preservation of artifacts made from this stone. Many limestone statues and building surfaces have suffered severe damage due to acid rain. Acid-based cleaning chemicals can also etch limestone, which should only be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkaline-based cleaner.
Other uses include:
- It is the raw material for the manufacture of quicklime (calcium oxide), slaked lime (calcium hydroxide), cement and mortar.
- Pulverized limestone is used as a soil conditioner to neutralize acidic soils.
- It is crushed for use as aggregate—the solid base for many roads as well as in asphalt concrete.
- Geological formations of limestone are among the best petroleum reservoirs;
- As a reagent in flue-gas desulfurization, it reacts with sulfur dioxide for air pollution control.
- Glass making, in some circumstances, uses limestone.
- It is added to toothpaste, paper, plastics, paint, tiles, and other materials as both white pigment and a cheap filler.
- It can suppress methane explosions in underground coal mines.
- Purified, it is added to bread and cereals as a source of calcium.
- Calcium levels in livestock feed are supplemented with it, such as for poultry (when ground up).
- It can be used for remineralizing and increasing the alkalinity of purified water to prevent pipe corrosion and to restore essential nutrient levels.
- Used in blast furnaces, limestone binds with silica and other impurities to remove them from the iron.
- It is often found in medicines and cosmetics.
- It is used in sculptures because of its suitability for carving.
Degradation by organisms
Photo and etched section of a sample of fossiliferous limestone from the Kope Formation (Upper Ordovician) near Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Calcium carbonate
- Coral sand
- In Praise of Limestone
- List of types of limestone by location
- Kranjc, Andrej (2006). "Balthasar Hacquet (1739/40-1815), the Pionneer of Karst Geomorphologists". Acta Carsologica (Institute for the Karst Research, Scientific Research Centre, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) 35 (2).
- Trewin, N. H.; Davidson, R. G. (1999). "Lake-level changes, sedimentation and faunas in a Middle Devonian basin-margin fish bed".
- Oilfield Glossary: Term 'evaporite'. Glossary.oilfield.slb.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
- Folk, R. L. (1974). Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks. Austin, Texas: Hemphill.
- Dunham, R. J. (1962). "Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional textures". In Ham, W. E. Classification of carbonate rocks. Am. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Mem. 1. pp. 108–121.
- "Calcite". mine-engineer.com. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- Limestone (mineral). Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "Isle of Wight, Minerals" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- Michigan Markers. Michmarkers.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
- "Welcome to the Limestone City". Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "A Guide to Giving Your Layer Hens Enough Calcium". PoultyOne.
- "Nutrient minerals in drinking-water and the potential health consequences of consumption of demineralized and remineralized and altered mineral content drinking-water: Consensus of the meeting". World Health Organization report.
- Henry Lutz Ehrlich; Dianne K Newman (2009). Geomicrobiology, Fifth Edition. p. 181-2.
- Taylor, P.D. and Wilson, M.A., 2003. Palaeoecology and evolution of marine hard substrate communities. Earth-Science Reviews 62: 1–103.
- Folk RL, (1974) Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks, Hemphill Publishing, Austin, Texas
- Dunham, R.J., 1962, Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional textures, in Ham W.E. (ed.), Classification of carbonate rocks: Am. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists Mem. 1,p. 108–121
- Robert S. Boynton-Chemistry and technology of lime and limestone- Wiley (1980) – 578 pages – ISBN 0471027715